Repairing your resume

February 7, 2010 at 11:52 pm Leave a comment

Besides having good connections and a top-notch network, there is no more important job-hunting tool than your resume. Yet often, once job hunters have gotten their resume in what they consider pretty good shape, they tend not to think about this document very much — and concentrate instead on researching jobs, honing their network and working on their interview skills.

Yet one should always be polishing their resume and seeking to make it as up-to-date and as effective a marketing tool as possible. And with most resumes being sent via email these days, there’s no reason not to repair and update it regularly. Recruiters cite lackluster resumes — not to mention lousy, hastily prepared ones — as one of the top reasons that a candidate doesn’t go much further in the hiring process. (See Dec. 18 post, “What to avoid on your resume,” and Dec. 2 post, “How to handle gaps in your resume.”)

Here are some items to regularly attend to in resume preparation, and some relatively quick and easy fixes for missteps you may have made:

*Take care in providing your name and formatting your resume. This seems to be an easy step — but one that trips up more applicants than you would think. Consider how many emails you receive a day — and then double or triple that for your typical recruiter. If your resume isn’t easy to find in their email in-basket, they won’t give it another glance, so make it easy for them. In the subject line of the email, write your name, (full name — not Sue’s resume — but Susan Smith’s resume), the job for which you’re applying and if it is a federal position or another one with a number, provide that information. Don’t get fancy with formats. Unless the recruiter asks you to do otherwise, format your resume in an older version of Microsoft Word — which nearly all recruiters will easily be able to download and print. Particularly beware of Windows Vista OS preparation. If the hiring manager can’t easily download and print out your resume, you may never know — they may just move on to the next one in their in-basket.

*Pay attention to the top of your resume and make it work for you. Many journalists are used to chronological resumes where, after giving your name, contact information and possibly a goal-oriented statement at the top, you launch into a chronological rendering of your experience and education. Busy recruiters now favor a resume in which at the top you first provide contact information (with your name in bold so they can easily refer to it. You don’t necessarily need your street address, but should provide home and especially a mobile phone number, your email address(es) and your city. If possible, you should designate an email address solely for job-hunting purposes — especially if you are job hunting while still employed) but then other information as well. You should state your job or career objective and than a brief summary of your background and expertise. Beneath that — in bullet form, with no more than six to eight phrases — you should state your talents, strengths and qualifications. This may take up one third to one-half of the first page of your resume (and remember, you should only have a second page if you’ve been in the profession more than 10 years) but it’s worth marketing yourself as smartly as possible in the prime real estate of the top of your resume.

*Key words are important. When posting jobs, recruiters are careful to note certain types of experience, qualifications and job duties in what has become known as “key words.” Especially when posting jobs on a job board or through a listing service, resumes (and cover letters) are scanned for these key words. These include such things as “multimedia experience,” “management” or “supervisory” experience, certain technical qualifications, “real-time editing” skills, etc. Carefully study job listings before you send along a resume (and cover letter) to make sure yours matches what they’re looking for — if indeed you possess those skills. Never try to “amp up” your resume with key words in areas that don’t match your skills. If you don’t have this expertise, this should be a signal not to apply for the job. Yet if you are noticing that job listings call for skills that you have but that you don’t list that way on your resume, that’s a signal to rework your resume with those key words in mind.

*Update your resume regularly, even when you’re not working full time. Hiring managers will realize when you’ve been laid off or taken a buyout (and you should mention this in your cover letter) but will want to know what you have been doing since leaving your most recent employer. This is true even if you left just a few weeks or months ago. So update your resume with this information, and be specific. Rather than saying “free-lance writing for online publications,” note (in the first section of your resume, if possible) just what types of articles you have been writing and for which publications. Include links to them, and especially to your Web site or blog — they can then see just what you’ve been up to for themselves. If you have been volunteering (especially for an organization in your field), taken on some part-time or temp work, or have appeared on panels or had other speaking engagements, it’s good to note these prominently on your resume. Not only will it show that you continue to amass experience in your field, but hiring managers often will be impressed by your drive and creativity in finding work even while you search for a full-time job.

*Several fresh bits of hiring news to spread:

*Drew Armstrong, who for the past four years has been covering health care as a reporter at CQ, will be joining  Bloomberg News as a health policy reporter based in D.C. His last day at CQ is Feb. 19.

*Steven Sloan, who has been a reporter in American Banker’s Washington bureau, is headed in the opposite direction than Drew — he is joining CQ on Feb. 22 to cover the financial services beat.

Congratulations and much success to Drew and Steven (who, in addition to being talented journalists, are good guys!)….and also, note that specialty beat experience — especially in health care, finance and economics and energy/environment — is prized these days and is landing reporters and editors good jobs!

(And one more note, at American Banker — where I am an editor in the Washington bureau — we are looking to fill Steven’s position. So if you or someone you know has financial services reporting experience and expertise in Washington, please be in touch — you can send me a message here, on my personal email — jodifs@verizon.net — or to my work email — jodi.schneider@sourcemedia.com.)

*A variety of good leads to pursue in this new work week:

*First, a few free-lance opportunities:

*Forbes is seeking a free-lance technology journalist to write two columns a week for the Web site:

Forbes
Freelance Technology Writer
Location: N/A
Forbes is looking for a freelance writer to handle two 500-800 word columns a week for a portion of the Forbes web site involving IT/computer issues at small and medium-sized businesses. Pay is in the $500-a-week range. The columns should help business people make sense of the thicket of jargon and buzzwords that often accompanies discussions of technology. The writer should have a grounding in technology and tech suppliers, and be able to bring insight, vivid writing and appropriate levels of skepticism to the task. You’ll be responsible for coming up with column ideas, though we can help with the brainstorming. This is a new feature for us, and there will be considerable flexibility in how the column evolves, though the columns should involve a mixture of reporting and analysis.
Contact: Interested persons should send a brief note, a resume and a few relevant clips to Lee Gomes, lgomes@forbes.com

*Bizmore, a site geared toward small-business owners and managers, is looking for freelance writers and bloggers:

Bizmore
Freelance Writers / Bloggers
Location: N/A
Bizmore
(http://www.bizmore.com), the new and fast-growing community destination for small business owners and managers , is looking for freelance writers and bloggers to write short case studies (http://features.bizmore.com/type/bestpractice), interview industry experts and report on timely, relevant issues and topics for small and medium-sized businesses.  We’re looking for writers who have: a solid grounding in small business and/or business management; proven talent (and continued interest) in service journalism for a high-level business audience — Bizmore is backed by Vistage International (http://www.vistage.com), the world’s leading executive membership organization, with some 15,000 CEOs worldwide; and a steady supply of story ideas and business contacts.  Interested? Contact Jeffrey Davis, Bizmore’s editor in chief, jeff@bizmore.com, 415-684-1892, or send clips and pitches to freelance@bizmore.com.  More about Bizmore here:  http://features.bizmore.com/press

*Safe Kids Worldwide in D.C. has an opening for a director of communications and marketing:
Director, Communications and Marketing (Safe Kids)
Director, Communications and Marketing (Safe Kids) Communications-SAFE KIDS Safe Kids Worldwide, Washington, DC – Washington, DC
and Safe Kids USA’s Communications, public relations… USA and Safe Kids Worldwide. Bachelor’s in communications, public relations or related field; Master’s…
From Children’s National Medical Center

*Turner Broadcasting’s Newsource/CNN is looking for a technical director/editor in D.C.:

Technical Director, Editor – Newsource
Turner Broadcasting – Washington, DC
Posting Job Title Technical Director, Editor – Newsource DC TimeWarner Division Turner Broadcasting Industry Advertising Cable/Broadcast…
From Time Warner


*The FBI in D.C. is looking for a writer/editor:

Writer-Editor, GS 14 (EX)
Justice, Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) – Washington, DC
Our Mission To protect and defend the United States against terrorist and foreign intelligence threats, to uphold and enforce the criminal laws of the United… $105,211 – $136,771 a year
From usajobs.com

*And last but not least, Discovery Communications in Silver Spring has an opening for a media scheduler:

Media Scheduler (Washington, DC Area)
Discovery Communications – Silver Spring, MD
or television trafficking* Proficient in Excel* Good written and verbal communication skills* Working knowledge of DCL’s Traffic and scheduling systems a plus…
From Jobfox


Happy hunting!

Jodi

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Entry filed under: Uncategorized.

Warnings, watches and alerts for a snowy weekend Trying to find a job in D.C. (or another city) when you live elsewhere

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